Sunday’s Crayon 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway had plenty of uncertainty heading into the weekend, but practice and qualifying showed the usual suspects at the top.
The Joe Gibbs Racing duo of Christopher Bell and Martin Truex Jr. paved the way to a 1-2 start thanks to a strong qualifying effort. They also each led their respective practice groups in the most important practice metrics.
From there, however, there’s plenty to unravel as we build lineups for another short flat-track race using the intermediate package.
Before we jump into my picks, don’t forget all my NASCAR projections can be found in the NASCAR Models on FantasyLabs, complete with floor, ceiling, median, and ownership projections.
Let’s not skip the best part — my Perfect% metric — a metric that tells you how often certain racers appear in the optimal lineup when running 10,000 race simulations.
Here are my NASCAR DFS picks for Sunday’s Crayon 301 at New Hampshire.
New Hampshire DraftKings DFS Cash Game Picks
Christopher Bell ($11,200) AND Martin Truex Jr. ($11,000): By grabbing both Bell and Truex in your cash-game lineups, you raise your floor significantly because these two are a step above everyone else heading into the race.
By picking just one or the other, there’s a strong chance you’d miss out on plenty of dominator points should the other driver dominate.
And there’s plenty of chance that both trade a large chunk of dominator points back and forth. Play them both, then worry about filling out the rest of your cash-game roster with the right combination of value plays from the combination of finishing position and place-differential points.
You can also take advantage of potential dominator points from Bell and Truex on PrizePicks, where Bell’s laps-led line is set at 76.5 and Truex’ is 72.5.
Ty Gibbs ($7600): Gibbs is a lock for cash-game lineups, as he overcooked the center of turns 1 and 2, causing him to have to save the car. That error relegates him to the rear of the field for Sunday’s race.
However, that in turn also gives him the highest floor of any driver, with massive place-differential upside. Gibbs was very strong in practice, coming in eighth in my weighted FLAGS metric in practice, despite running in the slower practice group thanks to changing track conditions.
New Hampshire DraftKings DFS Tournament Picks
Kevin Harvick ($9600): “Happy” Harvick should be plenty happy with his car thanks to a solid practice session where he placed second among the Group B drivers in my weighted FLAGS metric, behind only Christopher Bell.
Harvick is an absolute monster at shorter flat tracks, and by showing tons of practice speed in the slower group, it’s clear he has the upside to compete for a top-five finish, or even more.
Should one of Bell or Truex slip up, Harvick stands a great chance to fill the void as a potential dominator or even race winner.
Ty Gibbs ($7600): Yes, I know I wrote up Gibbs in cash games, but I really like him in tournaments as well.
Gibbs had the lowest falloff from five- to 15-lap averages in the whole field. In fact, the difference between his five- and 20-lap averages was less than the difference between Bell’s five- and 15-lap average.
Gibbs was dominant in the Xfinity Series at shorter flat tracks, including at New Hampshire where he led the most laps prior to an incident that caused him to finish 21st.
My model, amazingly enough, projects Gibbs to be under-rostered compared to his optimal lineup chances. Since there’s a ton of safety baked in, we should go even higher than that because he’ll help us cash other non-optimal but still strong lineups.
Justin Haley ($5800): This week Haley isn’t even the Paul Menard Pick of the Week (PMPOTW), he’s just a straight tournament play for me.
Haley came in second in weighted FLAGS in practice, as one of four drivers who turned every single lap under the 31-second mark. And it’s not like he did that over just eight laps like Kyle Busch. Instead, he did that over 16 total laps, showing his strength over an extended run.
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New Hampshire DraftKings DFS Paul Menard Picks of the Week
SCRUBS!: Look, this is the most ridiculous PMPOTW I’ll ever recommend, but there’s a world in which we get a stars-and-scrubs optimal lineup, and some of the super-scrubs project to be under-rostered.
Bell and Truex could easily dominate this race as the two highest-salaried drivers, and with high-priced drivers like Ross Chastain and Denny Hamlin starting in the back half of the field, there’s certainly potential for a stars-and-scrubs approach.
Add in the potential for rain, strategy, or just hard racing chaos as we saw in the Xfinity race, and if it takes out the right mid- and lower-tier salary drivers, we just need one or two scrubs to survive and advance forward.
This literally just played out in the Xfinity race Saturday, as Patrick Emerling and Mason Massey both ended up in the winning lineup. That’s two drivers priced $5300 or lower. Both achieved best, or second-best, career non-drafting oval finishes.
Could it be B.J. McLeod, Ty Dillon, or Todd Gilliland that does that Sunday? It’s possible. Those are the three drivers under $5500 who I project to be rostered less than their optimal chances, and all three come in under $5000.